Sir, The letter (August 9) from Masaru Sato of the Japanese ministry of foreign affairs misguides the reader with a number of distorted facts.
The Republic of Korea’s sovereignty over Dokdo has a long history. Korea’s territorial sovereignty over Ulleungdo and its ancillary island, Dokdo, was established in the 6th century and has since been confirmed through numerous government publications starting from the 15th century. A territorial dispute over Ulleungdo, including Dokdo, arose between Korea and Japan in the 17th century, but the Japanese government recognised the islands as part of the Korean territory in January 1696 and thereby prohibited all Japanese from making passage towards Ulleungdo. Furthermore, in March 1877, a directive was issued by Japan’s highest decision-making body to bear in mind that Japan has nothing to do with Ulleungdo and Dokdo.
However, Japan unlawfully incorporated Dokdo into its territory in 1905 during the Russo-Japanese war following a decision that such an act was “urgent in order to observe enemy ships”. Five years later, Japan illegally colonised the entire Korean Peninsula. Therefore, Dokdo became the first Korean territory to fall victim to Japanese imperialistic aggression.
Since then, Japan has made unjust territorial claims to Dokdo, before which there had been none. However, such claims run counter to what is confirmed through a number of second world war documents, including the Cairo Declaration, which states that “Japan will also be expelled from all other territories which she has taken by violence and greed”, as well as the San Francisco Peace Treaty.
The government of Korea looks forward to Japan putting an end to unjust territorial claims that stem from its distorted view of history and working towards establishing more future-oriented relations between the two countries.
Kang Byong-jo, director for Foreign Press Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Korea